Turret renovation buzz continues at Wilfrid Laurier University

Photo by Emilia Zibaei
Photo by Emilia Zibaei

For the past two years, plans have been set in motion for renovations to the Wilfrid Laurier University’s Turret Nightclub to accommodate more events outside the university.

This includes semi-formals, weddings and banquets, as well as an additional study space area for students.

While the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union has been planning these renovations, Phil Champagne, executive director and COO of the Students’ Union, said there are currently no plans for the Turret.

“We went to the Student Life Levy to approve a certain amount of money to have architects come in and build a plan,” he said.

Champagne said he hopes that in mid-to-late January, there will be actual plans to begin renovating the Turret.

With the drawings will be a proposed budget to reflect what the drawings show.

“We won’t put a shovel in the ground so to speak until we have the finances in place to make sure we’re okay,” said Champagne.

“Being a month into the process, it is difficult to have an exact payment plan in place, as it is up to the Students’ Union to find the source of funding in this project by fundraising.”

So far, the Students’ Union has been meeting with the architects, student leaders, internal Laurier hospitality team, student executive and athletics leadership focus groups, Resident Life Leadership and faculty associations.

The Students’ Union hopes to get various opinions on what an effective use of space could and should look like.

“General feedback so far has been that the Turret should be a multi-purpose space [that] functions as a night club and a concert hall, as well as still functioning as a catering event space,” said Champagne.

Tyler Van Herzele, president of the Students’ Union, explained that the ultimate goal of the renovations is to satisfy student wants and needs.

“The ultimate goal here is to return the student space to the students, besides when the Turret just functions as a nightclub,” he said.

The timeline of the project’s initial plans indicates that renovations should be finished by the end of January.

The best case scenario for the project to be finished overall is September 2017.

However, Champagne and Van Herzele noted how this is not necessarily realistic.

“We want to make sure that one, students are consulted, two, students understand and have an idea of what that purpose of the space should be, [and] three, we can take that forward and keep that in the forefront of our minds while we go about the architectual phase.”

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